Thursday, August 12, 2010
...for decades, the U.S government has promoted a policy of encouraging "home ownership" (or, more accurately, a rent-to-own system through home mortgages).
Now, the idea itself is not inherently bad if the homes are purchased with loans that can be repaid and downpayments are made that represent real equity on the front end.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case as the current economic mess clearly reveals. The federal government has subsidized an unsustainable form of rent-to-ownership through tax deductions, highway/road spending policy, and a host of other relatively hidden incentives.
In light of all this, a recent story in the USA Today caught my attention:
Just how much should Uncle Sam do to help Americans buy their own homes?
For 70 years — and for the last 15 in particular — the answer has been: Whatever it takes. Now, policymakers are pausing to reconsider.
In the next few months, they'll weigh whether there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to helping families finance the American Dream. The rethink could mean a shake-up for a mortgage market addicted to government subsidies.If this type of change really happened, it could have some fundamental effects on land use patterns, policies, and regulations since much of the current zoning system in many jurisdictions is predicated on the express idea of single, family-detached homes being at the top of the use pyramid as well as the implied idea that those homes will be owned (or, again, rent-to-owned).
Add in the proliferation of HOA rules and regs that address the ability to rent your house, and its easy to see how a shift away--even a small way--from federal policies that promote home ownership could have a major trickle down effect on the American land use system.
--Chad Emerson, Faulkner U.
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